How To Develop A Branded Content Strategy

Publishing branded content is the least expensive and most cost effective way to drive online traffic and visibility for your products and services. How do I know this? Because I live it. I just finished hosting my weekly podcast, which increases my access to people every day. And the first thing I did on January 16, 2000, the day I launched my business, was publish an online newsletter. I've been doing it almost weekly ever since. To see my first issue, and all of my issues from that first year, click here.

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I've come a long way since then. (Here's my most recent issue.) But what about you? I know you know that it's vital to your success that you own your core marketing outlets and content. So why do so few of you have a reliable, consistent, working content strategy? I think I know why, and I also think I know what you can do about it. I'll tell you more about my new program to help you do something about it in a minute, but first, here are the chief “explanations” I hear from people who don't have a branded content marketing strategy:

  1. I don't have enough time. I can sympathize with the idea of this, but not the reality of it. I am a wife with two young children. But I also know that if I don't invest in my business, my business won't invest in me. If you won't force yourself to take your valuable time to tell people about your great products, how can you expect people to take their valuable time to buy your products?

    Let me say this another way, because it's really important. If your products are wonderful, and you want me to pay you for them, but don't care enough about me to reach out to me regularly, then don't expect me to take the time to find out about your products — much less buy them. That's pretty clear, right?

  2. I'll run out of things to say. If this is really REALLY true, then you need to re-think your products and/or your business model. Both should be putting you in touch with exciting people and ideas every day. You should be reading industry trade magazines. You should be talking to your peers on FaceBook and other social networking sites (oh, like this one, for example).

    You should be surveying your customers and reading their FaceBook updates and Twitter streams to see what's important to them. What do they care about? Do you care about the same things? Of course you do, especially if your products are aimed at women and you are a woman! Having nothing to say is not a business problem. It's a life problem. Start connecting with other people, and getting to know them a bit. They'll never run out of things to say, and, if you listen carefully and create content that interests them, you'll never run out of things to say either.

  3. I don't understand the technology enough to get started. OK, I feel you here. There's a lot of technology I don't understand either.

    (For example, I spent two hours this morning and three hours last week trying to figure out Garage Band so I can edit my weekly podcast. The person who used to edit it for me is not available for a while, so I need to figure out an alternative. It's painful and frustrating, but I'm doing it. So I thought I'd mention that so you know that I'm living this too.)

    But I can't just sit around saying I don't understand, while also complaining that I don't have enough customers. I get customers because I produce content that is of interest to them. Because I engage them and let the know that I am listening to them, and that I care about and want to respond to the issues that affect them.

    I ask them what they want and then set out to give it to them. I use technology because it's the least expensive way for me to gain access to them. In fact, technology is the only way I can gain access to them. Do you have any alternatives? If not, then figure out the technology, and let's get going.

So there you have it. The 3 biggest excuses — I mean, explanations, debunked.

So, What Can You Do About It?

First, make up your mind that you'll find the time. If you don't start there, you might as well just save yourself the trouble and fold up shop now.

Second, start listening. Hear what your target customers are saying, and then ask them to elaborate. Engage with them, communicate with them. Dwell with them. You'll never EVER run out of things to say.

(Yes, listening like this takes time. See #1 above.)

Third, choose a technology and start using it. The three best options are a blog, a newsletter and a podcast (audio and/or video). You don't have to start with all three, but eventually, you'll need to use all three. Once you get started with each, you can leverage them against each other — this is where your customers will really begin to interact with you and your brand, and where they will begin to trust you enough to consistently pony up payment for your wonderful products.

How I Can Help (5 people only)!

Can you tell I'm passionate about this? And it's not just because I read it on a blog or because I'm watching other people doing it. It's because I live it myself, and my heart breaks when I see Indies unable to sell great products because they don't know how to market them easily and inexpensively on the Internet.

While I can't help everyone, I know that I can help 5 people, so that's why I've put together this special program that starts next week — for just 5 people who I will work with one-on-one until the end of the year to get a branded content strategy up and running by January 2, 2012.


This program is available to the first 5 people who sign up. All you need is a product to sell, a website to sell it from (it can be Artfire or Etsy!), the commitment to invest your time to sell the product, and a teachable spirit so I can show you how to use technology to brand and sell your products. To sign up, click here.

I am so convinced of the importance of branded content strategies that I've developed a program to help 5 people between now and the end of the year get their branded content strategies up and running by January 2, 2012. Reserve your slot and get started here.

Question: How can I help you develop a low-cost branded content strategy to help you achieve your goals? Let's go!

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.